cog·​no·​men käg-ˈnō-mən How to pronounce cognomen (audio) ˈkäg-nə- How to pronounce cognomen (audio)
plural cognomens or cognomina käg-ˈnä-mə-nə How to pronounce cognomen (audio)
: surname
especially : the third of the usually three names of an ancient Roman compare nomen, praenomen
: name
especially : a distinguishing nickname or epithet
cognominal adjective

Examples of cognomen in a Sentence

richly deserved the cognomen of “Butterfingers” “Christopher Columbus” is the Latinized cognomen of the navigator who was known to his Spanish crewmates as Cristóbal Colón
Recent Examples on the Web Part of the Tuscia — cognomen of lush forested Viterbo, crossed by the ancient Roman Francigena road and land of the Etruscans before that — Gradoli is also volcanic. Susan H. Gordon, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 The cognomen, or surname, of the Oba is Ekpen-owa, or home leopard., 1 Feb. 2021 Moore submitted dozens of wonderful, wondrous cognomens, including Mongoose Civique, Regina-rex, Aeroterre, Dearborn Diamanté and the deathless Utopian Turtletop. Dan Neil, WSJ, 20 Mar. 2020 Denmark, Iceland, Hungary and Saudi Arabia also enforce specific naming conventions where common American cognomens might not make the cut. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, 26 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cognomen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, irregular from co- + nomen name — more at name

First Known Use

1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cognomen was in 1691

Dictionary Entries Near cognomen

Cite this Entry

“Cognomen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural cognomens or cognomina -ˈnäm-ə-nə How to pronounce cognomen (audio)
: a person's last name : surname

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